Big Data for Big People

Esther Dyson (EDventure Holdings), Roni Zeiger (Smart Patients), Bastian Greshake (openSNP), Ryan Phelan (DNA Direct)
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What’s the role of individuals in providing medical data for public use? What about clinical validity? ownership rights? Liability (if someone sees someone else in danger, what are their responsibilities)? How does that conflict with privacy It’s the usual hairball – how can we make it more enlightening?

Photo of Esther Dyson

Esther Dyson

EDventure Holdings

Esther Dyson is an active angel investor in a variety of start-ups, for-profit and otherwise, around the world. She also operates as the Internet’s court jester, a person of no institutional importance who somehow manages to speak the truth and to be heard when and where it matters. She does business as EDventure, the reclaimed name of the company she owned for 20-odd years before selling it to CNET Networks in 2004.

Her primary activity is investing in start-ups and guiding many of them as a board member. Her board seats include 23andMe, Airship Ventures, Boxbe, Voxiva, Eventful, Evernote, IBS Group (Russia, advisory board), Meetup, Midentity (UK), NewspaperDirect, Yandex (Russia)…and WPP Group (not a start-up). Some of her other direct IT investments include Flickr and (sold to Yahoo!), BrightMail (sold to Symantec), Orbitz (sold to Cendant), Medstory and Powerset (both sold to Microsoft), Plazes (sold to Nokia), Tacit (sold to Oracle), BlogAds, BrightHouse, ChoiceStream, Dopplr, Dotomi, Linkstorm, Mashery, Organized Wisdom, Ovusoft, PatientsLikeMe, Resilient,Technorati, ThingD, and Zedo. Indirectly, she is an investor in and Wesabe.

As a two-time weightless flyer, she is also active in the commercial space/airline start-up world, with investments in Icon Aircraft, Space Adventures/Zero-G, XCOR Aerospace and Zero-G.

She also blogs occasionally for the Huffington Post, as Release 0.9. She posts photos with captions at Flickr.

On the non-profit side, Dyson sits on the boards of the Eurasia Foundation, the “Long Now Foundation”;, the Santa Fe Institute and the Sunlight Foundation.

Photo of Roni Zeiger

Roni Zeiger

Smart Patients

Dr. Roni Zeiger is former Chief Health Strategist at Google and is now co-founder and CEO of Smart Patients. He is a practicing physician, father of a son and daughter and a husband, and co-founder of and Seduce Health.

His mission: to use his expertise and knowledge to help potentially millions of people each day by making it possible for everyone to have acces to high quality health information.

Zeiger studied at Stanford University School of Medicine and specialised later on in clinical information technology. He was a fellow in medical informatics at Veterans Affairs in Palo Alto, California, and received a masters degree in biomedical informatics from Stanford University.

Zeiger started his professional career as a primary care physician, an urgent care physician, and has served as a Clinical Instructor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.

He wrote medical textbooks and a number of articles. Zeiger says it is impossible for a physician to remember all possible diagnoses and their symptoms. That’s why he developed the tool Diagnosaurus and more recently Google’s Symptom Search.

At Google he led efforts in efforts ranging from Flu Trends and Google Health to Google Body and Symptom Search.

Besides his work, he still sees patients at a local urgent care center, serves on the Board of Directors of Medic Mobile, and mentors health startups at Rock Health.

Photo of Bastian Greshake

Bastian Greshake


Bastian Greshake is a biologist with a background in genetics and bioinformatics. He’s currently finishing his master’s in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Frankfurt/Germany. He is one of the co-founders of openSNP, which crowdsources the collection of genetic and medical information, and is currently working at the Max Planck-Institute for Intelligent Systems.

Photo of Ryan Phelan

Ryan Phelan

DNA Direct

Ryan Phelan is an entrepreneur active in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds. She is currently working with The Long Now Foundation to evaluate a project to revive and restore extinct species. She was the co-founder and CEO of the ALL Species Foundation, a global science initiative to discover all life on Earth in 25 years. In 2005 Phelan launched DNA Direct, the first medical genetics company to focus on bringing personalized medicine to the consumer market. In 2010, the company was acquired by Medco Health Solutions to provide clinical support for pharmacogenetic testing services.


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